Architectural specialisation and the death of architectural practice

  • YEAR
    Raisbeck, Peter
    Day, Kirsten
    2016 Conference Papers
    Architectural Science, Practice and The Industry
    Conference Papers


In the past 50 years the traditional role of the architect to supervise and control projects has been eroded. The last remaining bastion maintain this traditional role of the architect is in small practice. Using a survey that firstly looks at how architects are engaged via either full or partial services we explore how architects identify with and deliver specialised services. The respondents in the survey were taken from a sample of 1200 Australian architects. Data was collected regarding specialisation, service provision, outsourcing and contractual arrangements. This is positioned alongside a historical account of the profession which suggests that technology and changes within legal frameworks, strategy, marketing, operations, project management, and finance are leading to the marginalisation of architects. We test this assertion by investigating evidence for these changes and the extent to which specialised architectural knowledge is being created in firms. For architects, specialist architectural knowledge is integrative and resides in the traditional service delivery particularly in the realm of housing. However, fee competition has hampered the ability of architects to specialise. As a result, in the future the role of the architect may be non-existent.


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